Religious minorities are key to peace in Iraq, UN told
CHURCH leaders in Iraq have urged the United Nations to help Christians and other minorities to return to the Nineveh Plains, east of Mosul, after Islamic State is defeated. The Roman Catholic philanthropic organisation the Knights of Columbus were co-sponsoring a UN panel “Preserving Pluralism and Diversity in the Nineveh Region” with the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee last week. The Vatican Observer at the UN, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, said that the need to establish “peaceful coexistence” of its diverse ethnic and religious groups was as important as rebuilding houses, schools, and places of worship. “Daesh sought to eliminate pluralism and diversity from the Nineveh Plain,” he said. “Therefore, the only way to make sure Daesh cannot claim any victory is to restore, and restore urgently, pluralism and diversity to the region.” Before 2014, 40 per cent of Christians in Iraq lived in the Nineveh Plains. holyseemission.org
Anglican Communion endowment established
THE Compass Rose Society, an international charity that supports the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council financially, has established an endowment fund of £7.6 million to continue its work with the Anglican Communion, the Society’s president, the Bishop of Texas, the Rt Revd Andrew Doyle, confirmed at its annual meeting on Wednesday of last week. The secretary general of the Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said that the fund was “a great gift” that would enable the Communion to support its ministries for decades, even centuries, to come. The Society provided 21.8 per cent of the budgeted unrestricted income of the Communion this year.
China repatriates North Korean defectors
TEN North Korean defectors, including a four-year-old, who were arrested last month after police raided the house where they were sheltering in Shenyang, north-eastern China (News, 17 November), have been forcibly repatriated to North Korea, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported this week. The individuals, their families in South Korea, and the South Korean embassy had appealed to the Chinese government to consider their case on humanitarian grounds. China considers North Korean defectors illegal economic migrants, and has a policy of forced deportation if they are discovered. The East Asia team leader at CSW, Benedict Rogers, said that the decision was “absolutely inhumane” and called on the international community to “convey its outrage” to China, whose decision, he said, made the country “an accomplice to North Korea’s crimes against humanity”.